Boy, am I glad Ed Schultz dealt with this. It's been a Fox theme since yesterday, beginning on Megyn Kelly's show and continuing on all the way through tonight's O'Reilly Factor. It goes like this: Unlike here after Katrina, and the Haiti and Chile earthquakes (translate that to where black people and Hispanics live), there has been no looting in Japan. Glenn Beck took it out to an extreme on his show today and then came on O'Reilly to tell everyone how noble the Japanese are for not looting after a disaster.
Of course, the whole idea of "looting" supposes that there is a) anything left after a disaster to take; and b) those who take are doing so with the motive of enriching themselves in some way, which makes no sense in areas where dire need supplants more banal motives. The areas most heavily affected by the earthquake were virtually destroyed by the tsunami. When ships sit on top of buildings and homes are reduced to rubble, there isn't much left to "loot." What's left behind is need and desperation.
But if you really want to understand why you're not seeing a whole lot of stories about looting in Japan, Slate has an excellent article explaining Japanese culture and society that will enlighten you.
There's a race-related overtone that's really insidious here, with Beck insinuating that the Japanese people are somehow superior to Americans, Haitians and Chileans, more noble. More good. It's quite subtle, but Ed sees it too. He also completely unwraps the idea of "no looting" and indeed, the idea of looting at all.
Ed points out there is looting going on in Japan. But is it looting when there's deep, desperate need? As Ed points out, "What is looting, when you're trying to survive?"
It's the framing that I noticed and also what Ed picked up on.
See, it always comes back to Beck's vision of America. With Barack Obama as President, America just isn't what it should be. We don't have respect for our fellow man, we don't even have respect for where we live? Glenn Beck is using false information about looting in Japan to say America isn't good enough?
Let's remind Beck about the volunteers who went to the Gulf Coast to help clean up the BP oil spill. We should also remind him about the people who helped rescue their fellow man from the flood waters of Katrina. And Beck, let's not forget about the first responders who ran in to the twin towers back on September 11th, 2001. Let's remind him that yes, there are looters in America and yes, there are looters in Japan, but no matter what country they're from, people in crisis do their best to stick together, to help one another, and to survive. Survive.
Also, what IS up with that fake Oval office set Beck's pontificating from? Is this how Fox plans to rehabilitate him? Take away the chalkboard and put him in a big desk flanked with flags? It's offensive. Tonight Bill O'Reilly referred to him as a "Fox News Analyst." A Fox News analyst? Really?